I never wrote to purge. Perhaps this has been my weakness. No great glots of self loathing or chalices of hope. I meditate on every word and there is little room for play. Even my earliest journals (grade 4) were sarcastic or ironic and I was never willing to fully bleed glitter and crocodile tears on the page. Maybe this was my practiced blockage; I hold back, I am unwilling afraid to explore, to make a mess, and I am embarrassed about the messes (Oh spilled glitter and macaroni and strands of dusty glue) I have put down. I want to be dignified, but I want to write too, and I hold myself back and that is a road block but it is also the reason I am working toward change.
Yesterday, I was leaving to take my son to a birthday party. We were running a little late and I managed to back into my garage door, breaking it and rendering it inoperable. Today I was cutting into a pomegranate when the knife jumped and sliced deep into two fingers. I was holding them in a (reddening) washcloth when the man came to fix the garage door.
“What happened?” he asked when he saw my hand.
I told him and laughed as I pointed at the garage door. “I’m having a rough few days,” I said.
This man, who spoke with a heavy accent answered, “Yes, I know how that is. We all go through black lines. I recently went through a black line myself. But you know, you can’t stay in the black line. You can’t put your head down and…” he mimicked crying. “Because then…” again, he made motions with his hands, like trying to grip a dribbling ball.
“You attract more of it.”
I love that. I took it inside with me while he repaired my garage door. I hold it still. A black line. Like a strike-out covering your life like a palimpsest.
So I will take this lesson: Be mindful. Slow down. Pay attention. And there is this: If I hadn’t broken the garage door, I wouldn’t have connected today with this sage. And that, I think, would have been a shame.